Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is a little gross

Logan is consistently pooping on the potty these days, usually during dinner. He is really great about it, even in a restaurant. One night he had to go at a coffeee shop so I scooped him out of his high chair and off he went to the bathroom, letting everyone on the way know "I go poop in potty!!" Fortunately, it is a family restaurant and I didn't notice anyone looking absolutely appalled. Mostly they smiled encouragingly and wished him luck, then high fived him on the way back. Sometimes I need to step back and realize that potty training brings all new experiences to him. In addition to anticipating when he needs to go, then holding it for a few minutes, he needs to learn to sit properly, feel comfortable and is experiencing all new sensations....and sounds. One of the first times he was sitting up there so proudly, getting the positive results we want, we heard the little splash.
Logan, looking extremely proud of himself -"Did you hear that?"
Me- "Yes."
Logan- "Dat came out my butt."
Okay...time to sit back down for dinner!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On The Road Again

Most years I raise funds for an event that benefits research and treatment of women's cancers. The top fundraising prizes are airline tickets, which is a really nice perk. Last year I took Logan to San Antonio to stay with good friends. This year I decided to take Hayden, who had been very excited for weeks about this trip. A few days before we left, Fillip told Logan they may go up to Davis while Hayden and I were gone. He got so excited, turned to me and said "I go Devis Daddy!" and did a little happy jig. Neither of us realized he had a happy dance in him and it was really cute. We both feel that the kids can benefit by some one-on-one time, and their response only confirmed that.

Fillip and Logan dropped us at the airport, and I held it together really well as I kissed my baby goodbye for the next few days. Both boys were very excited about their respective trips. Logan was excited to hit the road with Daddy (little did he know that would mean 5 hours in the car!) and Hayden felt like Mr. Independent to be in charge of his own rolling suitcase all through the security checks. He wasn't too happy that he had to put his shoes back on after the security check, but overall weathered the process well. We stopped for snacks, toys and gossip magazines for me, getting to the gate with a few minutes to spare. He had been asking for days about how we actually get on the airplane, and loved the jetway. The concept of an assigned seat stumped him at first, but not for long. I was concerned about the 2 1/2 hour flight, especially when he immediately rejected all the things I had brought to occupy him. However, the snacks, drink service, and window shade were pretty much enough to keep him content. The bathroom kind of freaked him out, but he got through it, and didn't hesitate to use it again on the way back. Despite my concerns, Hayden was terrific on the flight.

We arrived at San Antonio to be greeted by Gina and Brenna. It's always emotional for me to see her since it is so rare. The four of us collected our baggage and headed out. First stop was a sports grill, where we introduced Hayden to good ol' bbq chicken wings. Rejected. Oh well. It was really late for him, and I didn't expect him to eat much. I, however had no problem with the wings or the breaded fried mushrooms. Mmmm!! Once we got to Gina and Jim's house, Hayden enjoyed free reign while he got acquainted with Brenna (2 1/2) and Korbin (1 1/2). He got to feel extra big since Korbin is so much younger, even though Brenna is older than Logan. (Got all that?) He stayed up for a little bit, then went to bed without a problem, probably relieved to finally sleep. Once I went to bed, I had hoped for a restful night, and sleep in a bit. Hah!! Hayden is a very restless sleeper. I felt bad, but when I still hadn't slept at all by 4am, I settled him on the floor so I could get a least a couple hours of sleep. I wanted him to stay up fairly late to keep him on his Pacific Time zone schedule. He had no problem with that, but woke up bright and early San Antonio time anyway.

Most of our first day was spent hanging out around the house in our sweatpants. It was such a great change from our normal hustle and bustle. The kids played very nicely together, and Hayden was quite solicitous toward the other two. They watched some movies, played in the backyard and we even all took a walk. I took advantage of Gina's kindness and even took a walk all by myself. They live in a beautiful neighborhood with brick facade houses that just look like a postcard. Meals came and went as did the usual naptime struggles. I won- after an hour and a half of persistance, Hayden konked out until dinnertime. Yippee!! I got to sleep too! By dinner I was a bit stir crazy, so we headed to one of their favorite local joints. The food is what I consider good southern fare (keep in mind, I've never been to the South, making my opinion pretty useless), but the big draw is the giant sandbox outside on the patio deck. We sat enjoying margaritas while the kids had a blast building and knocking down sandcastles. For the first time ever, I ordered chicken fried steak. It wasn't bad, better than the fried pickles, but I'm not sure I need to try that again. After dinner we headed back to the house to help the kids bake some brownies and play some more. Sadly, Brenna had caught a nasty stomach bug that dispersed us all for the evening. That poor little girl was so sick, and I felt bad for all of them as they comforted her and continuously cleaned their sofa cushions. I got Hayden to bed as much because it was late as because I wanted him out of the way. I then spent the evening finishing a novel and trying to stay out of the way as well. Nobody made me feel like a nuisance, but I do know how stressful it is when your kids are actively sick. Having houseguests can't help.

The next day it was just me, Gina and Hayden heading out to see some of the San Antonio sights. I felt obligated to bring Hayden to the Alamo, but we didn't spend much time there. He was so bored. We walked through quickly, bought Logan a Davy Crockett hat (like Logan and I had bought one for Hayden there), and made our way down to Riverwalk. Now, I absolutely love Riverwalk. It is such a neat concept. Hayden enjoyed the water features leading down to the the main area, but moving forward didn't exactly hold his interest. He was hot and tired, and not very cooperative. We finally got down there and settled at a little Italian restaurant for lunch. Once he was refreshed with a cold drink, with his favorite pizza on the way, he was a much happier boy. He loved watching the boats go by and seemed to enjoy himself. Gina and I shared a crisp fresh antipasto salad and an absolutely delicious grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. After all that fried food, it was a very nice change. One snow cone and a lot of prodding later, we headed back to the house for naps.
Brenna seemed to be feeling much better so the kids continued to play, eat dinner and enjoy each other's company. Jim was kind enough to watch all three so Gina and I could hit the town for some Girl Time. We didn't get out until after 10:30pm because Hayden and I both wanted me there while he went to bed. However, even at that late hour we took our pre-revelry pic, enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner, then some live music at a local club. It was almost like old times when we would party hard and dance the night away. Almost. Conversation has switched from parties and boyfriends, to husbands and birth experiences. However, Gina is one of those people I can spend endless relaxed hours with, talking about everything or nothing.

The next morning was uneventful as I got us packed and ready to go. We hung around outside with the kids for awhile. Hayden was amazing at getting himself and Brenna going on the swinging seesaw. She just held on tight enjoying every second. Later in the morning we headed to the airport, with Hayden again smoothly navigating the security checkpoints, and picking out airport treats. He loved the Texas size jelly beans and choosing something new to play with. We found our seats on the plane, and again his behavior was stellar. I had bought him a deck of cards and it was so fun to teach him how to play the card game War. He totally got it, calling out which cards were bigger, then laying them out when they matched. Fillip and Logan weren't arriving home until late that night, so Hayden and I hung out with the neighbors, got my car cleaned out (which any of you who know me also know what a big and overdue project that was!), went grocery shopping, and had a couple rounds of Candyland. (Hayden won.) What was interesting to me, was despite having a fantastic weeked away together, I was much more relaxed at home, enjoying simply being with Hayden. The trip itself was great, and I am so glad we went. I love Jim and Gina and miss them tremendously. It was wonderful of them to let us stay in their beautiful home, making us part of their family for the weekend.

Fillip and Logan got in around 10:30pm. Logan was a sleepyhead, but quickly woke up to play with me for a few minutes. It felt so good to hold him and hear his chatter. He and Fillip had a fabulous time as well, sharing their many stories about the family friends they played with all weekend. We are lucky in so many ways- to have these friends to visit as family and to have boys that adapt to new situations so wonderfully.

Friday, November 16, 2007

An Overly Long Description of a Fantastic Couple Hours

It's not often that I enjoy complete relaxation. At night I usually try to read a bit before bed, but am watching the clock, overly aware that I will need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at dawn. Often I lay awake at night with my mind racing about all the things I need to do, only to get up too tired to accomplish any of them. Before the time change, I would briskly walk around the block to get a few minutes of exercise by myself, knowing that I would shortly be returning to the chaos of home. Work isn't terribly stressful, but they wouldn't exactly appreciate me sitting around here in my sweats, watching The Food Network. I have a great life, but with marriage, kids and full-time job, it isn't easy to relieve all the stress. On Tuesday, I took a stand. Several months ago I had been given a gift certificate to a local spa. It was high time I used that. It's not that I had forgotten. Oh, no.. I would periodically take it out and look at it, reviewing the "menu of services" and fantasizing about that perfect day when I would finally get there. After traveling for a few days I just took that extra day off. Working in a financial market that is dying a slow death, it's not like my presence is so critical at the office right now.

When I first arrived for my afternoon of pampering, I was actually a bit stressed. I wanted everything to be just perfect, but there was a crowd at the front desk, delaying my entry. For appearances sake I looked patient, but when it was my turn I did nicely mention that there was very little time left until my appointment, leaving no time to enjoy the extra spa features. No problem! They simply moved my appointment 30 minutes later. Oh, I love being catered to! I was given a brief tour, shown to my locker and entrusted with my giant spa robe and sandals. Let the disrobing commence. Into a robe. Hmm.... Anyway, I did make a bit of a disturbing self discovery. Although rationally I understand that I am fairly lucky, I was so self conscious about my body that I had to wear a bathing suit. On the beach, I feel like this bikini is too revealing relevant to the shape I am in, yet at the spa I may as well have been dressed from neck to ankle. Almost all the other women seemed perfectly comfortable using the jacuzzi, steam room, etc.. completely nude, yet I just couldn't do it. I have never considered myself a prude, wasn't disturbed by the other women being undressed. They were simply average, all different body types, perfectly comfortable in their own skin. Here I was, unable to let go of my insecurities with my own body- a petite body at a healthy weight. Really, no room for complaint. I find that a bit sad, yet also compelling because only I can tone up the problem areas. Despite knowing it was ridiculous, I was glad to be in my bathing suit, preferring to be comfortable for my own sake, rather than self-conscious in the name of solidarity with strangers.

My first stop was the jacuzzi. I went in completely prepared with my little cup of cucumber water and an iced washcloth. It. Felt. So. Good. The only other times I have been there were when I was pregnant. The spa kindly prepares a warm milkbath to accompany the pregnancy massage, but I had never had the opportunity to use the steaming hot jacuzzi. It took a few minutes to find my perfect spot. First, I was on the far end so I could see all that was going on, but the bench is too deep causing me to sink to my eyes. This short girl needed a shallower seat! I moved over to the third step and leaned back, only to realize that the sensation of roaring and something trying to suck the hair off my head was the drain pulling at me. Finally, I laid on the third step on the other side, where little Goldilocks found it to be Just Right. Despite using the iced washcloth, I did get overheated after awhile, so I decided to try out the cool mist room. I've never seen this before, but let me tell you how great that is!! I hate saunas and steam rooms, feeling like I am suffocating from that heat. However, after getting all warmed up in the jacuzzi, the cool mist room was like a fresh breeze. The fogginess provides a muted hushed feeling with the only sound that of the mist being gently pumped out. The light is dim, and everything is a soft haze. Although I wasn't being directly sprayed, the moisture would collect on my skin, then gently roll down in little streams. It was like being massaged by tiny ladybugs. The pleasure of all these sensations was such a wonderful surprise. I waited until I got really chilled, then hopped right back into the jacuzzi, sinking into the water like I would a warm blanket. Now, it may not be so great for my immune system to go from hot to cold to hot- again and again- but that is exactly what I did.

Despite my immersement in all these temperate sensual pleasures, I still needed to watch the clock. Even having that extra time, it passed quickly. I dried off, ditched the bathing suit, donned the giant robe and sandals then headed out to the Meditation Room to wait for my Massage Therapist. She actually met me right outside the door, and we headed down endless hushed halls, passed a hundred closed doors to the place where I would spend nearly an hour letting a stranger rub me in all the right ways. For once, I was actually brave enough to request more pressure. I usually feel completely mute, as if it would be rude to criticize the technique, when the reality is that I am paying good money to this person who likely just wants to do her best to make it a good experience. Throughout the entire massage I had the opportunity to let go of all the things that normally crowd my mind, and just concentrate on feeling. I can't easily accompish this, and found myself with an inner dialogue that was actively clearing out all the mental noise. By the time the Massage Therapist finished, I had dozed off. Although most people think this is a good thing, indicating complete relaxation, I always feel like I missed out on those last few minutes. However, I was in a happy, sleepy state and feeling like a lump of wet cotton. I re-robed, accepted the proffered cup of cucumber water, and headed back to the locker room. Despite already being later than anticipated, I took my time showering in the spa shower that has 3 shower heads spraying me, used all their fancy shower products, then took the time to blow dry my hair into complete submission. I arrived home a new, relaxed woman.

I can't tell you how much I needed that.